Today’s the day.
It’s funny, I always knew it would come and that I’d probably be sad about it, but not for one minute did I expect to be where I’m at right now. Today we close on the sale of the rowhouse we made our first home. It’s been hard, and I’m sure some people are either sick of hearing about how sad we are or really want to just slap us upside the head because we had 13 showings in 7 days, an offer on day 3, and under contract in under a week for more than any comparable rowhouse of our size and statistics (and no- we didn’t even have a parking pad). We should feel good and lucky to have had that luck and to walk away with cash rather than bringing cash to the table, and we do, and we are; and know we are. But for me (and us) it is really about how this tiny little house has been a part of every memory, big and small, that we’ve had through our entire life together. Yes, we bought a new house, a great house, in a great neighborhood, with great schools and still gives us a little bit of city life with the benefits of more green space. And we’ve spent the last few months renovating it to be all that we wanted in a home. To have everything we NEEDED in our old home but didn’t have the ability (or space) to do before. Trust me, I’ve been the one reminding us that this is a GOOD thing and that we’re in a good situation. But for today, today I’m going to let myself be a little sad about it all. Feel free to not read the rest and wait for a new house update to come soon. For those who want to stick around, here are some of the highlights from the last 7+ years.
I moved to Baltimore for work in 2005, joined a great firm and had an apartment in a great neighborhood. Best of all, this very cute girl also moved to Baltimore for a similar job and sat right next to me.
We instantly became friends and I finally asked her out, 2/14/06. A week later, I bought this house. I was 23, what the heck was I doing?
This house was a section 8 rental for many years. It was to be my ‘3 year bachelor pad.’ The block was mainly vacant and under construction. It was ‘north of the park’ and in the ‘up and coming’ area. Would the neighborhood really turn around? There were white tigers involved. I was so excited. So excited that this girl lied through her teeth telling me how great the house was/would be when I brought her to see it, really thinking ‘good for him, not like I’ll ever live here.’
I jumped into home ownership and spruced up the place. A friend was moving in for the summer and I had to also impress this new girl I was dating! The place got painted and the bath got a quick update. The yard got cleaned out but the deck, which could only be described as being made out of rotting driftwood, remained and hosted many gatherings that summer. Lots of scaffolding appeared on the street, it wasVERY exciting. Many of the other homes on the little block were renovated and sold; lots of new faces on our little street.
I fell in love with this girl and envisioned our future life as a couple in this house. The ring was bought, it was perfect, and I proposed while on vacation in VA. We came home engaged and told two of our friends while standing in the dining room. There was lots of screaming. Additional renovation plans began, her moving in was contingent on them!
This little home saw lots of work. We argued over cabinets, wall colors, wedding details, decks and windows. I think we fell in love with our home more through the process. We bought a new couch- our first major purchase as a couple. It was a big deal and made our living room feel more homey. We got a puppy! She scratched the new floors and ate the new drywall. We would get angry, but couldn’t resist her little face. She loved sunning herself in the backyard- we really needed to make it nicer.
New neighbors moved in next door. They has just gotten married and seemed to be our age. Perhaps we would ‘happen’ to be outside when we heard them, to make sure we said, ‘hello’. We continually apologized for the way the yard looked while renovating and for all the noise. They’re now our best friends. We have sister dogs and built a little doggie door in the fence between our yards.
Two years of planning and we got married! After our honeymoon we came back to our little house as husband and wife. Friends left us champagne and flowers in the living room and we cheered to officially starting our life together on Port St. We loved coming home to this house together with Riese.
The neighborhood was, in fact, up and coming and lots of young people had moved in. We made really great friends in the neighborhood and they all live just down the block. Between the park and our friends, this little house was perfectly suited for us.
Barbeques, drinks on the deck, drinks on the front steps- we did lots of that here! Our friends surprise us one night at happy hour and tell us they’re having a baby- we were so excited for them! We went next door one night, and they ask me to be the Godfather to their little girl- we met really great people living next door- how awesome. We got to watch their little girl grow up just over the fence. Raquela moves to Baltimore- just 6 blocks away! LOVE having her so close! Lots of birthdays, anniversaries, and festive get-togethers through the years. We gave ourselves a backyard makeover for Christmukkah one year. Finally- our little slice of Fiji heaven on Port St.!
Our last project is begun, the dirt basement gets finished. There’s a “bug upstairs in the bedroom.” The bug was a onesie and ‘What to expect…” book on the bed – we’re having a baby! We closed the windows so no one on the street would hear our excitement. It was 90+ degrees that day. For weeks we had a secret within those four walls that we couldn’t wait to share. Little Maki was on her way! We were so excited for our daughter and our neighbor’s daughter to grow up together. We couldn’t get much closer! What- they’re pregnant again? Now the 3 kids can grow up together!
In came the crib, dresser, and rocker. We painted the nursery with the cutest numbers mural and posted about it on our blog. A digital magazine saw it and wanted to feature it in their pages. Our little house was famous! Where does all this baby stuff go in this little house!?
Naomi’s water broke while she was at swim class and she came home to tell me. She stood in the doorway not sure what to do. We ate, and ate, and ate. It was like the last supper here on Port St! We also did some laundry, finished the birth plan, and, of course, completed and loaded the music playlist onto the iPad. Oh yes, and packed our bags- we’re having a baby soon! Contractions did not kick in, so we slept (Naomi did – I was too nervous/excited) that night and headed to the hospital in the morning. I had to go into the office to hand off an all-day meeting to a colleague, our neighbor drove me and then checked in on Naomi when he got back. I met Naomi at the Dr.’s Office. Riese guarded the house while we were gone.
The birth experience was crazy, our doctors aren’t there, but Dr. Lawyer and Dr. Apple (not even joking) deliver our beautiful baby girl. Naomi did it all with no pain medicine. After the first few hours, we longed to just be home in our house with our new little bundle. We couldn’t wait to come home.
Family meets us at Port St.- so warm and inviting on the cold January evening. We loved showing our little girl her now home. Lots of friends came and visited. This was our new life. It was exhausting, but our little house is perfect for us.
We walked to work and spent the spring and summer adjusting to family life. It’s great! We’d bring the monitor next door to hang out with friends after G was asleep. Spent lots of time asking for advice over the fence. The holidays start to approach and the small space is starting to take its toll. We talked about moving, but how could we really leave?
We found a great new house that needs a lot of work. After some negotiations, our offer is accepted. We’re very excited, but a small part of us feels like we’re cheating on our Port St. home. We realize more and more how much we really do love it and living there. It’s sad to tell our family, it’s even sadder to tell our friends. We have a few months to enjoy it while the renovations occur at the new house.
A whole year goes by and we celebrated a first birthday with close to thirty family members in these little walls- we make it work (by staying up late every night for a week straight, cooking and decorating- your first child only turns one once!) and it’s incredible. We look forward to future parties in the new house with more space, it’s upsetting knowing this is the last one we’ll have there. So many memories in those walls.
We de-cluttered, cleaned, and listed our home. Professional photos were taken and our little space looks amazing. Had we been living there all these years? It’s bittersweet signing the listing agreement. We’re so proud to show off the house, but sad that it means someone else will move into it. We sell in 5 days- it’s not a great experience and we learned a lot for ‘next time.’ (although, I’m told we are never moving again!).
We packed everything up. I did most (all) of the packing. Naomi was too upset, it’s hard to let go of ‘our home’. Will G and Riese miss or even remember this place? The movers came and in a few short hours our life was moved to a new place. It was sad and exciting all at the same time.
Today we are closing on the sale of our little house, the one we made into the home for our little family. We’re bringing with us all of these great memories and so many more! It’s hard to imagine what this would be like when I bought the house as a single, 23 year old, new-to-Charm-City guy and vowed it would only be a 3 year house. I’m not going to pretend that we’ll never think about Port St, we’ll probably talk about it every day. We’ll even begin to forget all the things that frustrated us about the house and glorify how perfect it was in every way; that’s normal. But we’re going to try really hard to hold onto the memories and get excited about all the new ones we’ll be creating on our new adventure. I just hope the new owner doesn’t see us doing creepy drive-bys every now and then. Also, she better not kill our favorite shrubs (in the planter we built out of brick with our bare hands) in the backyard!
We’ve loved every minute here!